Cary Blake

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake travelled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in Arizona and California. He also covers New Mexico and West Texas agriculture for Southwest Farm Press.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

Western grapeleaf skeletonizer serious, destructive pest 2

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for the legendary Hollywood phrase “I’m B-a-c-k” yet also on the return is the voracious western grapeleaf skeletonizer (WGS) pest in Napa County, Calif. grape country following an eight-year hiatus.

Agricultural officials on June 24 discovered an adult male WGS in a vineyard pheromone-baited trap on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga.

“This is a destructive and serious pest,” says Greg Clark, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner.

Top 5 ways cotton ginners can survive trying times

The official theme of the 2015 Arizona Cotton Conference held in June was “Survival,” amid a plethora of industry concerns including continued low cotton prices, wide fluctuations in planted acreage and related gin consolidation, crop competition, drought issues, and more.

Conference speaker and ginning specialist Tommy Valco at Stoneville, Miss. noted he had seen more serious times for cotton in his 40-year tenure in the U.S. cotton industry.

Second case of HLB disease confirmed in California
Second case of the citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) confirmed in California.
Allied Grape Growers annual meeting in pictures

The 2015 annual meetings of the Allied Grape Growers cooperative held July 7 and 9 in Fresno and Santa Rosa, Calif., respectively, were full of news and forecasts about California's ever changing wine industry - an industry where change is about a daily affair.

Those gathered at the Fresno site received a sobering look at the likelihood that still more vines will need to come out in the southern San Joaquin Valley; given the supply and demand for interior-grown grapes.

Sterile insect technology could help thwart Navel orangeworm pest in pistachios, almonds

Sterile insect technology (SIT) is a critical component towards the eradication of the pink bollworm (PBW) insect (Pectinophora gossypiella) in Far West and Southwest cotton fields.

This method in turn could help pistachio and almond growers combat the destructive Navel orangeworm pest.

The cotton industry is working with various groups to possibly use a section of the Pink Bollworm Rearing Facility building in Phoenix to rear and sterilize Navel orangeworm (NOW) insects for release in California pistachio and almond orchards.

Up close: Western grapeleaf skeletonizer pest
Photos of the western grapeleaf skeletonizer pest.
Western grapeleaf skeletonizer pest found in Napa County vineyard trap 3

Napa County Agricultural Commissioner Greg Clark asks grape growers and gardeners to keep on the lookout for all larval (caterpillar) stages of the western grapeleaf skeletonizer (WGS) pest.

This follows the June 24 discovery of an adult WGS in a vineyard pheromone-baited trap on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga.

“This is a destructive and serious pest,” Clark said.

“All larval life stages are voracious feeders that cause extensive damage to grape leaves, including partial or complete defoliation of grapevines.” Clark explained.

Davis new Arizona Game and Fish Commission chair

Kurt Davis is the new Arizona Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) chairman for the agency’s 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Davis, who took office July 1, succeeds Robert Mansell who will continue to serve on the commission until his successor is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
"Serving on a commission dedicated to conserving and protecting Arizona's wildlife - more than 800 species - is an honor of a lifetime,” Davis said.

Arizona cotton acreage slides 75 percent in last 22 years

In the western cotton industry, the folks who perhaps have the best estimate on planted acreage are those who tabulate grower field data information from pink bollworm eradication surveys.

In Arizona, the ‘cotton numbers man’ is Leighton Liesner, director of the Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council (ACRC) in Phoenix.

Drought takes toll on 2015 California almond crop

2015 California almond production is forecast at 1.80 billion meat pounds, down 3 percent from May's subjective forecast and 4 percent below last year.

The objective crop estimate, based on a National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey funded by the Almond Board of California (ABC), is based on 890,000 bearing acres.

Production for the Nonpareil variety is forecast at 670,000 million meat pounds, down 6 percent from last year’s deliveries. The Nonpareil estimate is 37 percent of the total California almond crop.

Glufosinate damage can occur on young almond tree trunks
Glufosinate herbicide use has increased over the last year due to the increased supply and availability of generics, according to David Doll, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) pomology farm advisor in Merced County.
Rain, chill hours brighten 2015 outlook at Eagle Ranch Pistachios 1
The outlook for Marianne and George Schweers’ 2015 pistachio crop in Alamogordo, N.M., looks bright, thanks to good fall and winter rains plus above average chilling hours.
Citrus: State status update on ACP, HLB disease

Citrus-producing states continue to circle the wagons to ward off the evil Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB) disease intruders. The following is a roundup (status report) of pest and disease information in Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas.

These assessments are from University of Arizona Tree Crop Specialist Glenn Wright based on his notes from the 4th International Conference on Huanglongbing he attended, along with information from Brian McGrew, the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s (ADA) quarantine program coordinator.

US citrus industry can beat odds to win ACP-HLB war
Among the potential Huanglongbing cures Wright is advanced research into transgenic citrus trees created through genetic engineering or GMOs.
Test results on NOW control lure in pistachio, almond, and walnut
California entomologist Charles Burks with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Parlier is helping tree nut growers evaluate a new lure to monitor orchards for infestations of the Navel orangeworm, according to an article written by the ARS’ Dennis O’Brien.
Connect With Us
Commodity Prices

Market Data provided by

Continuing Education Courses
Sponsored by Monsanto, this accredited Weed Resistance Management CEU gives an overview of...
New Course
The Federal Organic Foods Production Act set standards for both growers and consumers, and the...
New Course
Mites are small arthropods in the class Arachnida and the subclass Acari. Although they are...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×